GOP uses Facebook-like site to expose Obama's 'friends'

Through a design that mimics the look of the popular social network Facebook, Republicans hope to build an image of Barack Obama based on the company he keeps.

The Republican National Committee has touted the creation of a site called "BarackBook" that includes profile pages for many of the controversial associates that Sen. Barack Obama's critics claim he is linked to in some way.

The front page includes a friend feed much like the actual Facebook does, where additions to the site are added each week, according to the RNC. Also included are links to various press releases from the party, as well as multimedia featuring some of the people mentioned within.

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Among Barack's "friends" are the already well-known real estate developer and Democratic fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, controversial Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and far-left activist William Ayers. More recently, the RNC has added CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans, Arab activist Ali Abunimah, and Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

It appears as if the effort here by Republicans is to paint a picture of Obama as a typical politician. Such a reputation would damage the presumptive Democratic nominee, since a signature of his campaign has been to market himself as a Washington outsider.

"Leveraging the popularity of social networking sites, BarackBook allows voters to explore Obama's connections with these individuals as well as their connections to one another using video and news articles," the Republicans said of the site when it launched July 29.

The efforts also show the lengths political parties are now going to use the Internet to their advantage. The RNC here even offers an application that can integrate the BarackBook site into a user's profile on Facebook.

Democrats are using the Internet to strike back at their rivals. The Obama campaign recently launched a site called "The Low Road Express", highlighting attacks on Obama by supporters of presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.

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